Monthly Archives: August 2007

Salesmen

I am currently waiting for a man regading our new doors. You’d think that he’d be in a rush to pick up his deposit and sign the agreement wouldn’t you. I mean they’re quick enough to reduce their price to win the order.

Last time I had a call a few hours before to confirm the appointment. Today I’ve heard nothing. I did get a call from the guy’s manager 2 days ago and I confirmed that the salesman was coming today to finalise things but nothing since.

I’m not complaining. After all, if they don’t want my business, there are plenty of people out there who do. Its just that it doesn’t instill confidence in their customer service. I’m also glad that I’m working from home today and am stuck in the house anyway.

Moral Thoughts From Fiction

I have just finished reading a Robert Ludlum book and have just started one by Philip Kerr. Though these are works of fiction they do have interesting moral dilemmas that provoke thought.

In Ludlum’s The Bancroft Strategy there is an organisation that is using assasination as a tool to remove people from humanity who cause suffering to people through blocking aid projects, corruption or poltical gain. The organisation has created a computer programme that can determine whether or not that person’s death will lead to the “greater good” of humanity.

It works on the assumption that religious morals are not as proficient in reality as those based purely on “reason”. Does this begin to sound familiar to what we are hearing in books, or watching documentaries, today from authors such as Dawkins? Our faith is not grounded in reality but is a blockage in the way of humanity’s evolving to a higher plane.

In Kerr’s book we have the dilemma of the allies having to decide wether it is best to remain allied to the Soviet Union or to abandon that alliance. The backdrop is the Katyn Forest massacre of the 4500 Polish officers by Stalin’s NKVD.

The novel is based in 1943, before the allies knew about the enormity of the Final Solution. Therefore Churchill & Roosevelt have to decide which is the greater evil – Nazism or Stalinism.

Reading these has made me think about the decisions that are made in our name. Are they based on precise, unbiased information? More often than not they aren’t. This is where reason falls down. You will never have enough verifiable facts to form an absoute conclusion. They can be manipulated by others to reach a conclusion that is favourable to them.

Just think of the decision to go to war with Iraq in 2003. This was never based on fact. The British government knowingly forged intelligence data to force GW’s hand. In turn GW forged data to meet his argument regarding WMD and Iraq’s links to terrorism. Many were rightly suspicious of this but went ahead anyway.

We ahve to remember that we can never rely on reason alone to find solutions or to base decisions on. Reason, like faith, is not an absolute science. Both are fallible because it’s conclusions are formed by fallible human beings – except the Pope who is supposedly infallible.

Left Behind

We have just watched Left Behind – The Movie.

I’d got it a few months ago for £4 at our old Christian bookshop but not got round to watching it. I’ve never read the books and, as I’d worked from home today, we decided to watch it tonight.

This is no Hollywood blockbuster. If you’re hoping for special effects and great dialogue then this is not the film for you; it is definitely a little light on the theology as well. As with all such films the message takes the forefront and is rammed home with a sledgehammer.

People start disappearing and all that remains are their clothes. All the young “innocent” children are taken as well. The film makers seem to like showing pictures of abandoned pets wandering, or standing, around looking lost. No cats mind; I take it that they get taken up in the rapture.

The attempts by those people left behind to find faith and then lead others towards the truth is very simplistic. Watch this video that the former pastor made 3 years earlier – “but how did he know?” – and everything becomes clear. Not convinced then look at this presentation on the computer you have. See those “codes” in the bottom corner? well they’re bible verses.

We now wonder how this film would play to non-Christians.

Greenbelt Memories II

We returned to Greenbelt to attend the Wibmeet. It was good to be able top meet people and to put faces to blog personas. I now know what certain people now look like – unfortunately they also know what I look like!!

It also proved that you could not always reconsile the wib personality/looks with the true personality/looks. This is especially so when you have imagined that someone looks entirely different in reality to your mental image. No, I’m not saying who that was….

I was very upset that Auntie Doris did not attend the meet. I was looking forward to meeting her.

There were no chair related accidents today. However I did have a nice time sat at the side of the racecourse, after the Wibmeet, enjoying the sun, my book and a fine Cuban cigar. Ah, what bliss.

I’m looking forward to next year when we hold the 1st Annual Greenbelt Ecumenical Poker Tournament. Neil & I have decided that this needs to be organised.

Greenbelt Memories I

Yesterday we visited Greenbelt for the day and shortly, after lunch, we’ll be heading off to the Wibmeet.

I must say thst I was very glad that I didn’t go for the whole weekend. The programme for this year was not as extensive as previously. There were huge gaps where I wanted to see non of the bands or hear the talks. This is in complete contrast to the last 2 years where everything seemed to conflict.

However I did enjoy the afternoon sat in front of the Church Times tent reading my book, checking the football scores on my mobile and saying hello to various Wib type people. The nearness to the Tiny Tea Tent was also a great plus point.

I had a wander around the book and music shops and spent a few pounds there. I watched the world go by and wandered off for a sausage roll at the Bacon Company – always a highlight for me.

The great event however happened later. I was sitting in the shade of the Church Times yurt with FW and a few friends. As we were talking I leaned back and heard a sound behind me. I put this down to me leaning against one of the supports for the yurt.

A few minutes later I was waving at FW as she returned from one of her expeditions to the unmentionables. As I did so the rear support of my chair collapsed. I ended up seated at a 45 degree angle with much merriment caused to those around me. Jacqui has a photo of my trying to extricate myself from the ruin that was my chair – she’s promised me a copy and I’ve said that I’ll use it as my profile picture om Facebook.

YEE! HAH! (Written in a Norwegian accent)

Bimble has a rather interesting view on the state of texas reaching 400 executions since the death penalty was revived there in 1976. Personally I see it as a way of population control. As to death by injection I, in the words of the hunchbacked jailer in Life of Brian, could think of much crueler ways of doing it. Some of which involve leaches and custard 🙂

I thought, in the spirit of Greenbelt, I’d have a much better and more environmentally friendly story:

According to research in Norway an adult moose is actually an eco-terrorist. It is causing our planet to die folks. Yes, that’s right – It’s The Moose ‘wot Dunnit! (tm The Scum).

An adult moose creates the methane equivalent of 2100Kgs of CO2 per year through breaking wind and belching. That is the equivalent of one of us travelling 8000 miles in a car. To put it another way – a return flight from Oslo to Santiago in Chile produces 880Kgs of carbon. Biologist Ridar Anderson (wasn’t he a character in M*A*S*H) says: “Shoot a moose and you have saved the equivalent of two long haul flights.”

Therefore we have a new way of becoming carbon neutral; we all go to Norway, by tarin or car, and bag ouselves a few moose. That way we can kill a moose and offset our emissions.

I’m off to the travel agents now to book a ferry crossing and getting my rifle out of storage. Will I be able to fit a full size moose onto the bonnet of my MX5?

Strange Days

A strange thing happened to me today. My boss actually paid me a compliment in front of everyone else at my branch. Why is this srange? Well, for the last month I’ve had nothing but insults and accusations. I also discovered that there is a vacancy at my local branch in Wales, so I’ve applied. I have an interview with another company on Friday for a job that only exists in a vague form at present – the words of the branch manager.

Is it just me or is the world becoming more and more existential?

Manchester Company With Helicopter Aspirations

That is how someone found this blog yesterday or today. I can’t work out how this phrase and my blog go together. I know that I love flying/aircraft but I hate Manchester and have no helicopter of my own. Anyway I’m more of a fixed wing lover personally.

There is nothing on earth like the sight of a Hercules, F15 Eagle or an A10A Thunderbolt II flying over to stir the blood; well, apart from the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight. From a young age the sound of an aircraft in the sky has always guaranteed that I’ll look up everytime.

As an Air Cadet I got to fly in almost every non- fighter aircraft the RAF possessed. From the first time I experienced aerobatics in a Chipmunk I was hooked. I still remember the feeling of fear and excitement as the North Sea got closer and closer as we dived, almost vertically, towards it. Then the gut wrenching slump as we fought gravity to pull away.

Since then I’ve flown a 13 hour sortee in a Nimrod looking for Russian “spy” trawlers and Royal Navy submarines; I’ve taken control of various aircraft, including a Gazelle helicopter over the M4 motorway; and I’ve leaped from a Hercules with nothing but a piece of silk to prevent me from burying myself several feet into the Earth.

I Predict a Non-Riot

The summer in the UK is often referred to, in media circles, as the silly season. This is the time of year that politicians are on holiday, major stock markets are quiet and very little happens. You then see news stories like “Great White Shark Seen In Pensioners Bath”. They usually turn out to be complete rubbish.

Yesterday morning we were told in chapel that there had been a riot at 03:30 that morning in the near-by town of Blaenavon. I got a little excited as I love a good riot. Well, its a good way to do your shopping on the cheap, isn’t it! However there was no trace of anything on the web, either in national, local or foreign news. Maybe Blaenavon isn’t connected to the outside world, I thought.

On going home from chapel there were plenty of “rozzers” heading in that direction with their “blues & twos” on. Yet there is nothing about it in the news. Maybe the preacher, who comes from there, confused a “riot” with a typical “lad’s night out”; they amount to the same thing in this area 😉

Even the predicted “rioting”, “terrorist activity” and “mass airport invasion” didn’t happen at the Climate Camp protest at Heathrow. I mean what’s the world coming to if you can’t believe press releases from big business and the “rozzers”. Were they just trying to keep people away or were they playing on peoples’ fears?

As the protests were essentially peaceful and drew a great deal of media coverage then they can be classed as a partial success. The acts of mayhem portrayed by the authorities didn’t happen. They were incidents of “crustys” gluing themselves to buildings and gates but no invasions of the airport.

Most of the public seemed to be in agreement with the aims of the protest. That’s certainly the opinion gained from listening to rolling news radio and the majority of the newspapers. The Sunday Times did a very fair write up in their News Review section yesterday. It was weighted heavily in favour of the protesters. However I did agree with its assertion that they were a little to anti-media.

However I’m still trying to work out why Climate Change is a Feminist Issue, as one camp seminar was entitled. Don’t the rest of us count anymore? Are feminists more responsible for climate change than everyone else?

I go with the latter explanation. The world was a much more ordered place until we gave women the vote…..